eurel     Sociological and legal data on religions in Europe and beyond
You are here : Home » Poland » Social and religious data » Principal religions and denominations

Principal religions and denominations

A very Catholic country

The majority of Poles declare themselves as Catholics. Other religious denominations constitute only a small fraction of the population. Catholics represent 87% of the total population, and 97% (...)

The majority of Poles declare themselves as Catholics. Other religious denominations constitute only a small fraction of the population. Catholics represent 87% of the total population, and 97% of the total number of people belonging to a religious group (Statistical Yearbook of Poland, 2013).
In 2012, the members of the Roman Catholic Church (Latin Rite) were 33 384 936, of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church 504 150, of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession 61 656 and of the Old Catholic Mariavite Church 23 355 (see Religious belonging and religious demography).

Religious population in Poland in 2015 (in percent)

Roman Catholics 92,8
Orthodox 0,7
Jehovah’s Witnesses 0,3
No religion 3,1
No answer 2,2
Other < 0,7

Source: Social Cohesion Survey, Central Statistical Office of Poland 2015.

D 13 April 2016    AWojciech Sadłoń

The problems of the Catholic Church in Poland - sociological aspects

The Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), a publicly funded independent research centre, is one of the largest and most renowned public opinion research institutes in Poland. CBOS has published (...)

The Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), a publicly funded independent research centre, is one of the largest and most renowned public opinion research institutes in Poland. CBOS has published in 2013 a report entitled "Problems of the Catholic Church" in Polish Public Opinion, October 2013.
It appears that the hierarchy of problems facing the Catholic Church in Poland is related, on the one hand, to the weight of the issues and their prominence in the media and, on the other hand, to the inability of the Church to credibly handle such cases. Although cases of paedophilia are incidental, they appear to the public opinion as particularly significant and appalling, as they concern the people entrusted with educating the younger generation. Inaction or inappropriate reaction of senior priests to such cases aggravate the problem. Homosexuality of the priests is increasingly in the focus of interest of journalists and artists, and becomes an issue for the public opinion.

Paedophilia among priests

The problems of the Catholic Church most commonly mentioned by respondents are related to misbehaviour of priests and issues related to their sexuality. Over two-fifths of respondents (43%) consider cases of paedophilia among priests to be the biggest problem facing the Church. More than a quarter (29%) consider homosexuality of priests to be such an issue. In this context, the failure to live up to the vow of celibacy seems to be a less glaring problem (18%).

Excessive political activity of the institutional Church

Another controversial issue is the excessive political activity of the institutional Church (28%). When the activities of individual Church representatives is added to this, e.g. expressing political views during religious service (16%), the problem of political involvement in political life appears to be a significant weakness of the Catholic Church.

The process of secularization of the society

A little more than a quarter of respondents (26%) perceive the process of secularization of the society (decrease in religiosity and in the number of believers) as a serious challenge for the Church. A slightly smaller group is appalled by the excessive, in their opinion, standard of living of the priests (23%), and too high financial expectations from the faithful, connected, for instance, with administering sacraments (22%). About a fifth (19%) consider alcohol abuse by the priests to be a serious challenge.

Source: "Problems of the Catholic Church" in Polish Public Opinion, October 2013.
More information about this topic can be found in the CBOS report in Polish: "Problems of the Catholic Church" in Polish Public Opinion, October 2013.

The problematic issues for the Catholic Church in Poland

Which of the following issues are problematic
for the Catholic Church in Poland?
Peadophilia of priests 43%
Homosexuality of priests 29%
Involvment of the church in politics 28%
Decline of religiosity 26%
Lavish standard of living of priests 23%
Exessive payments for sacraments 22%
Alcohol abuse of priests 19%
Breaking the celibate 18%
Priests expressing political views during religious service 16%
Conflicts among priests 10%
Media hostility to the Church 6%
Low income of some parishes 5%
Lack of democracy inside the Church 5%
Insufficient involvment of the laity in parish affairs 4%
Insufficient financing of the Church 3%
None of the above 4%
Don’t know 5%

Fieldwork for national sample: August 2013, N=904. The random address sample is representative for the adult population of Poland.
Source: "Problems of the Catholic Church" in Polish Public Opinion, October 2013.
More information about this topic can be found in the CBOS report in Polish: "Problems of the Catholic Church" in Polish Public Opinion, October 2013.

D 29 June 2016    AMichał Zawiślak

The problems of the Catholic Church - two dimensions

The problems of the Church look different from the perspective of the parish. The most important problems on the national level appear insignificant or low in hierarchy when seen locally. The (...)

The problems of the Church look different from the perspective of the parish. The most important problems on the national level appear insignificant or low in hierarchy when seen locally. The most important problems of the Church, from the perspective of a member of a local parish are, on the one hand, financial: excessive required donation for administering the sacraments (18%) and opulent living standard of the priests (10%). On the other hand, respondents mention the decline in religiosity and falling numbers of the faithful (16%). Next in importance are the political involvement of the Church (8%) and the politicization of the religious service (7%).

Which of the following issues are a problem
for the Catholic Church in Poland?
Which of the following issues are a problem
in your parish?
Peadophilia of priests 43% 1%
Homosexuality of priests 29% 2%
Involvment of the church in politics 28% 8%
Decline of religiosity 26% 16%
Lavish standard of living of priests 23% 10%
Excessive payments for sacraments 22% 18%
Alcohol abuse by priests 19% 3%
Breaking the celibate 18% 4%
Priests expressing political views during religious service 16% 7%
Conflicts among priests 10% 3%
Media hostility to the church 6% 2%
Low income of some parishes 5% 6%
Lack of democracy inside the church 5% 2%
Insufficient involvment of the laity in parish affairs 4% 6%
Insufficient financing of the church 3% 4%
None of the above 4% 37%
Don’t know 5% 13%

Fieldwork for national sample: August 2013, N=904. The random address sample is representative for adult population of Poland.
Source: "Problems of the Catholic Church" in Polish Public Opinion, October 2013.
More information about this topic can be found in the CBOS report in Polish: "Problems of the Catholic Church" in Polish Public Opinion, October 2013.

D 29 June 2016    AMichał Zawiślak

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Follow us:
© 2002-2020 eurel - Contact